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Marriage, Manners and Mobility in Early Modern Venice by Alexander Cowan

By Alexander Cowan

All through historical past, marriage has been used as a style of making and strengthening bonds among elites and the societies over which they governed. Nowhere is that this extra obvious than in early smooth Venice, the place individuals of the patriciate seemed to marital alliances with outsider brides to aid retain their place and social contrast in a fluid society. This booklet explores the parameters of upward social mobility, modern reviews of social prestige and ethical behaviour, and where of marriage and concubinage inside of patrician society. Drawing seriously at the documents of the Avogaria di Comun, which had the duty of analyzing the social backgrounds and ethical reputations of ladies from outdoor the patriciate who wanted to marry patricians, this learn offers a desirable reconstruction of Venetian society because it used to be obvious by means of participants at each point.

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It is clear that what seems to have been almost a joint act of conceptual blindness on the part of the patrician fathers and the magistrates did not completely hide the full range of these relationships and their social and moral significance. A fiction was created which effectively likened concubines to 58 G. Martini, ‘La donna veneziana del ’600 tra sessualità legittima ed illegittima: alcune riflessioni sul concubinato’, Atti dell’Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti 145 (1986–87): 301–339; A.

50 He argued that wealth and office-holding were less important in the exercise of authority and high status than self-balancing networks among the elite, and that these networks were complemented by others based on clientage. Relationships through marriage between patricians and those below them in Venetian society were also an important element in this context. They were not the only forms of clientage. The dominance of neighbourhoods by patrician palaces is well known, as are 48 AdC 108. See M.

Differences in specific occupations and evidence of whether there was any hardening or softening of attitudes over time are also considered here. The final three chapters, ‘Concubinage and Natural Daughters’, ‘Gender and Honourable and Dishonourable Behaviour’ and ‘Marriage and the Patriciate’, bring together a consideration of the place of marriage in the lives of Venetian patricians from several different perspectives. They are as much about relationships outside marriage as they are about the burgeoning significance of marriage to patrician families and to that minority of male patricians who took wives at all.

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